The War Policy of the Early Period of Islam
Hojjat al-Islam Hashmi Rafsanjani
Former President of Islamic Republic of Iran
Now see the difference in the treatment of Islam towards non-Islamic nations involved in war. See what the civilization of Islam and the Islamic movement demand in the world, and what these arrogant powers demand. The matter which I want to mention is authentic, as being related by successive witnesses. The Prophet's (S) policy while dispatching troops to war for defence purposes was that he first talked to them.
Need for Taqwa
He firstly advised them to fear Allah (SWT) and observe taqwa. As I have mentioned repeatedly, the fundamental basis of Islamic movement in military, economic, cultural, educational, and familial arenas is taqwa. That is to say, the criterion is that man should have a sound condition to preclude him from swerving to the left and right, up and down, excess and insufficiency or negligence. We interpret this as observing taqwa. The first thing the Prophet (S) used to do was to remind them of Allah (SWT) and of the fact that taqwa is necessary for everyone; and more crucial for a military person, for the person who holds a sword or a rifle and whose finger is on the trigger which can ruin a city and put human beings to flames needs to practice greater taqwa than the one who holds a knife, or the one who is a shopkeeper, or the one who has a more limited range of activities. We need taqwa in all arenas of life. The Prophet (S) especially emphasized it while dispatching the forces. He first used to advise them regarding taqwa and then used to state: "Do not usurp the properties which fall into your hands in the battlefield. Observe taqwa in regard to financial matters. Do not mutilate those whom you capture, and do not dismember them.
Do not deceive them. You bear the message of guidance (while they used to go for defence, if the Prophet (S), for instance, heard that in such and such a place a group of persons had gathered to attack and hatch plots, he used to send the forces to suppress them and used to state: `Do not deceive and cheat'). Clearly express your message, and if they desire to hear your message, give them time. Do not kill the old men. Do not kill children and women. Do not set a tree on fire. Do not pour poison into the water sources of the enemy." He used to advise to deal with similar other matters which could be faced in the war fronts. This was the command of the Prophet (S) to his combatants, and that was the European brand of command to armies they used to send to occupy areas of peoples who did not fight with them.
For example, consider what a great distance is between China and Europe. If we want to draw a straight line on the earth, see how long it is from Europe to Germany. They must go from the Atlantic Ocean, pass the Cape of Kab, reach China, and fight there.
On the other hand, the Prophet (S) used to address these words to people who wanted to confront the attacking enemy which had already made advances towards him. This is Islam and that is the so-called school of thought of human rights which they have now sprung up and showed it off to the oppressed and enslaved nations.